Sunday, February 6, 2011

Comfort Food

Made choucroute for the first time; and it definitely won't be the last time.  Such a comfort meal!

I played around with three or four different recipes to concoct one for the slow cooker.  This is what I layered:  1 lb slab of bacon, cut into 1" cubes, 4 lbs well-rinsed sauerkraut, bay leaf, fresh thyme, juniper berries, mix of sausages & kielbassa (about 5 lbs), topped with potatoes and Fiji apples, 3/4 bottle of Alsace Riesling.  Cooked on high for 2 hours and then low for about 5 hours.  Easy!  Served with pumpernickel bread and some great mustards (fig and date balsalmic; hot horseradish; dijon).  This was dinner for 6 and there were a ton of leftovers.

Don and Ana brought a delicious squash soup with shrimp; and Liz and Darcy brought a side salad to round out the meal.

Dessert was blood orange, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries drenched in chambord & served with ice cream, biscotti and Spanish Coffee.

Ossau Iraty - absolutely delicious!
Before sitting down at the table we sampled cheeses.  I brought out an Alsacian Munster that was particularly stinky; a beautiful chevre (Tomme de Chevre 137)  and a great Basque sheep's cheese called Ossau Iraty.  A dark chocolate berry bread  provided a unique contrast for the Munster.

Next time I do chourcroute in the slow cooker I will change up the sausage for more kielbossa and/or chops.   Another possibility would be to go "whole hog" and toss in some pigs' knuckles, tails, or hocks.

Sauerkraut is something I crave every once in awhile.  This humble ingredient has a noble past:  it's kept sailors from scurvy and brought winter Vitamin C to Europeans for centuries.  Cooking it in the Riesling sweetened it incredibly.  I wonder how sauerkraut simmered in a nice porter would fare?

Something tells me this dish will become one of my winter staples.


Giulia said...

Having lived in Strasbourg, you can imagine I've had some very good choucroute...even though I eat little meat these days, I make an exception when a friend's mum visits (from France). I'm not feeling very hungry lately but I could eat some of this for sure. xo

Carô said...

J'adore les saucisses! All those ingredients -- that pot must have weight a ton and how big is that slow cooker BTW? How about posting the recipe?

Diane said...

actually the photo looks disgusting, doesn't it? lol.

the recipe is there, it is all in the layers. just divide everything by half to feed ten.